Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Burgundy spent last week at Spurs camp with the Girl Scouts. In the end, she felt really good about going, but she faced two challenges.

First, she went to Spurs late in the game. All the other girls in camp were 11-13 and entering 8th grade. One young lady was 14 and entering 9th grade, and Burgundy is 14 and entering 10th grade. One of her good friends from school was a camp assistant! She said it felt awkward and disappointing at first, but when she realized that all the other girls looked up to her and thought she was cool, the experience improved. When we picked her up, the camp nurse told me that Burgundy, "is just the coolest kid. She really loves the other girls, and that is so wonderful. The other girls all called her Mama." I really appreciate that Burgundy took a potentially negative experience and used it as an opportunity to lead other young people by example without the "carrot" of recognition in front of her.

Second, she had a bad time with one of the camp counselors. I found Burgundy's way of telling the story had a fascinating subtext; I'm pretty sure she was unaware of it. Throughout her descriptions of the counselors' behavior (there were several episodes she told us about), she referred to the counselors as women, ladies, or counselors. Each time she mentioned the one she had trouble with, Burgundy took great pains to be clear that she was a counselor, in charge, and in authority. But she talked about her as she does her peers, referring to her as a girl more often than not.

Apparently, the "girl" acted as though Burgundy was a threat. She went out of her way to compete with Burgundy about music, and she tried several times to exclude Burgundy from social interactions with anyone else Burgundy's age.

Asked how she decided to handle it, Burgundy said, "Well, after the first conversation I could tell that she didn't like me, and I had no reason to like her, so I just worked hard to stay out of her way. And whenever she got really out of line, one of the other counselors would step in and redirect her. She was just really immature."

Aw, shucks. My kid . . .

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